The coronavirus – creeping onto the world’s scene only a few short months ago and then exploding into our day-to-day lives. Every day we hear about the impact of corona and COVID-19 on – well, almost everyone. But how is it affecting disabled individuals? Today on Blind Abilities we explore just how blind and visually impaired individuals have experienced and adapted to corona and COVID-19 around the world.
This is Chee Chau, from Malaysia.
Hi, my name’s Steve, and I’m from England.
My name is Elise Lonsdale, and I’m from Northern Australia.
Hi, my name is Lori Thompson, I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is in the United States.
Hey everyone, it’s me, Marlon Parieaho, from Trinidad and Tobago.
Hello, I’m Sherry Molengraft, from Jacksonville, Florida.
Hi, my name is Nick D’Ambrosio, and I’m from Montreal, Canada.
Brooklyn Rodden Kelly:
I’m Brooklyn, and I’m from Sacramento, California.
Greetings everyone! Brian Fischler, from New York City.
Our guest on today’s episode is Marlon Parieaho. Marlon hails from the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, where he is a police officer and an essential worker. Marlon will share for us today his unique perspective on how COVD-19 has impacted him and the people in Trinidad and Tobago. And now, please welcome Marlon Parieaho.
Trinidadian Newscaster (female):
Trinidad and Tobago has received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19, or coronavirus. It came at 2:45 this afternoon. Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh released the details from (unintelligible), as an emergency press conference held on Thursday afternoon-
Trinidadian Newscaster (female) 2:
-government is again defending its decision to close T&T’s international borders as a measure of curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Hey everyone, it’s me, Marlon Parieaho, from Trinidad and Tobago, and like everybody else in the world, we are also under the COVID-19 pandemic stress, for want of a better word. Our country, they are saying we are not in a state of emergency, but it sure feels like a state of emergency. They have closed all restaurants, bars, barber shops, and so on. And I think there was a big thing, because they closed down KFC, and a lot of people (unintelligible), and people started to panic-buy Kentucky Fried Chicken, yeah. Obviously, the first time I’m hearing the term COVID yet, I’ve never heard that term before, but if we have COVID yet, it would be the persons who refuse to do the social distancing, they are still going to beaches, they are still going to rivers and streams and some are even having COVID-19 parties, because Trinidad and Tobago’s a party country and try our best to have a party under any circumstance, which is so weird.
Because I am an essential worker – as you may or may not know, I am a police officer, yes, I’m a blind police officer – I have to go to work, but there are some times that I have the option to stay home and work from home. It’s a bit of a change, I will say, because I have three daughters – one is 16, one is 8, and the other is 3 – and the 3-year-old doesn’t give a flying hoot that I’m home and working from home, she doesn’t care, she wants to play like the little Peppa Pig and (unintelligible) and all these other cartoons on my Mac, and she couldn’t care less what work I have to do, so sometimes I have to hide to get work done.
I’m using this time to learn a lot of things – I’m learning how to use Zoom, that lovely little tutorial that was given free by Jonathan Mosen helped me a lot, especially using Zoom on the Mac. I actually have a lot more time to learn this application called Keyboard Maestro, and for those who know of it it’s an app about observation, and it helps you to create macros that can automate simple tasks and do things faster. The sad thing is that most of these tutorials about Keyboard Maestro is not accessible, they don’t explain that well. There is a podcast called Automated, but they tell you what you can do but they don’t tell you how to do it. So I’m learning slowly but surely, I have about seven macros that make my job a lot easier, so that’s what I’m doing.
I think that’s the one thing that is really helping me throughout this difficult time is learning new stuff on the computer and listening to audiobooks, listening to descriptive movies, and listening to podcasts like this one! So for all of you out there who are indoors, take the opportunity to learn something new, and if you’ve learned something new, learn something else that’s new. And just remember, stay home, stay safe, save lives.
As it stands in Trinidad, which only has 1.3 million people, we have 109 positive cases of COVID, and eight deaths, and I think four persons who have recovered, which is a far cry from other countries which has deaths in the thousands and so on and I really feel bad for them, especially in the U.S., where I have listened to the news and so on and there’s really, really bad- I will also say that persons who are paying attention to the news and if it is distressing you, you can probably- don’t listen to it, I guess, and listen to something different. I mean there’s not a damn thing you can do to pretend it’s not there, but sometimes it makes the whole quarantining thing unbearable. So, you know, ever so often, you can probably go out on your porch – I don’t have a porch myself, but you go out on your porch, listen to nature, listen to the trees, listen to the birds and the bees, and probably in Serena’s Keys (?) listen to the goats, and so on, and try to make the best out of what you may have before you. This is Marlon Parieaho, signing out, from Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidadian Newscaster (male):
On Saturday, May 9, the Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley outlined the first three phases of the relaxing of COVID-19 stay-at-home measures.
This concludes episode four in our series Around the World With COVID-19 From a Blindness Perspective. We’d like to thank Marlon Parieaho for sharing not only his perspective, but those of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago as well. Stay tuned for more episodes in our series, and from all of us here at Blind Abilities, through these challenging times, to you, your family, and friends, stay well, stay informed, and stay strong. Thank you so much for listening, and have a great day.
[Music] [Transition noise] –
When we share
-What we see
-Through each other’s eyes…
[Multiple voices overlapping, in unison, to form a single sentence]
…We can then begin to bridge the gap between the limited expectations, and the realities of Blind Abilities.
For more podcasts with the blindness perspective, check us out on the web at www.blindabilities.com, on Twitter @BlindAbilities. Download our app from the app store Blind Abilities, that’s two words, or send us an email at email@example.com. Thanks for listening.
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
To find your State Services in your State you can go to www.AFB.org and search the directory for your agency.
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group